Since Angela’s decision to stop treatment on July 12, 2018, you could say she’s been living “with an expiration date.” At least that’s the way one of her doctors explained it recently. To me, that’s a bit harsh of an explanation. There is no question we have been trying to enjoy more of the everyday. It’s also caused a number of really wonderful/sad/amazing/beautiful things to happen.
The first thing to happen… on the same day Angela mentions getting new family photos taken, Betsy (a family friend and website client) from 24 -7 Photography reaches out to offer to take our family photos. I was shocked and amazed at the miracle timing. We decide to make an appointment. And as she had before, thphotographicic results are beautiful and amazing.
I mean who can’t like a good family shot and a couple’s shot?
We’ve been to a concert (Evanescence with Lindsey Stirling)
Angela was a chorus & theater singer/performer through High School (she has a beautiful singing voice). Along with that, a true, deep passion for the well-sung performance has led her to find all kinds of wonderful signers in many different genres. Evanescence’s Amy Lee is on Angela’s list of wonderful singers that includes Celine Dion, Broadway singer Linda Eder and many more.
Amy Lee’s performance was amazing.
The beauty of the performance visibly elevated her mood and connected her with a “higher musical power/beauty” to the point of tears of joy during many songs. She will tell you that during really good performances she will get chills. I can relate to this feeling in some guitar songs. And over the years together have “tuned” into vocal performances more.
Other things that have happened include receiving gifts from friends and a high school classmate. Fellow blogger and friend Amy Buchanan of Atta Girl Says reached out to me (knowing that Angela loves design, too!) and gifted Angela a care package of design magazine.
A high school classmate of mine sent Angela a beautiful figurine and photo album, pre-filled with a few photos.
So much love and caring from so many people! Angela often comments that she had no idea so many cared. From cards to text messages, and the comments on her Facebook page or posts she’s tagged in she knows there is a lot of love and caring out there for her. And, there’s no question it provides the “fuel” for a better attitude.
I captured Angela on video talking a bit about her situation and the impact of everyone’s outreach, love, and gifts of all kinds. (It was a little noisy in the resturant, turn up the volume.)
And still more things….
With the help of three of Angela’s lifelong girlfriends from Texas and myself, we planned and celebrated our daughter’s (early) Sweet 16. Why early? Because you do things when you want when you are in this situation. Besides, who really likes a Winter birthday that is often rescheduled due to snow or the infamous ice in North Carolina? Trust me, I know.
The birthday girl and her guests.So many other things too… like meals at her choice of local/regional restaurants and visits from out of state friends and family.
These great experiences have been balanced out. Just as we talked to Duke before we ever knew we’d need them, she is taking on other more poignant things like clearing her closet of “business” clothes she no longer wears, filling out greeting cards in advance, talking with a Palliative care nurse about advanced directives, planning a meeting with Hospice to discuss future care arrangements and at some date in the future a meeting with the local funeral home to get those details worked out.
How she doesn’t just lose her mind right now is amazing to me. The grace, strength and sheer will she exhibits on a daily basis is simply awe-inspiring.
Such a strong woman to be handling this the way that she is. Not sure I’d have it in me. Also equally strong of Rob to write these pieces and keep us all updated.
Nicholi and the rest of the Long family
Thanks, Nicholi. We continue to take it a day at a time. Much love, man.